Manganese Prevents Death From Bacterial Shiga Toxin

Majid Ali, M.D.

One of my regrets in integrative medicine is not knowing how many safe and effective natural remedies there are that I have not been able to test and validate. I lament the loss of countless such therapies that might have been used in past centuries. I also wonder about many such therapies that remain to be discovered. So, I was thrilled to read the report about the value of mineral manganese in preventing the loss of life caused by the nacterial toxin called Shiga. This was reported in an important paper published in Science 20 January 2012 by Mukhopadhyay, and Linstedt* of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh,

Shiga toxicosis is caused by infections with Shiga–producing bacteria and is responsible for more than a million deaths each year. Shiga–producing bacteria include the Shigella genus and a highly virulent species of E.coli called enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). There is no satisfactory treatment for it. Treatment with antibiotics further increases the risk of Shiga release and its fatal consequences. So the very notion of a safe mineral that can prevent death in experimental mice indeed is thrilling.

Manganese in Health and Disease

One crucial function of this trace mineral is to protect various cellular populations in the body from excessive and toxic activity of superoxide, an important Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde oxyradical. Its timely neutralization is important in the prevention of toxicity of elemental oxygen. Manganese is crucial in degradation of superoxide. It also serves as a cofactor for a large number of enzymes with diverse functions, including arginase, cholinesterase, phosphoglucomutase, pyruvate carboxylase, mitochondrial superoxide dismutase and several phosphates, peptidases and glycosyltransferases. Not surprisingly in light of such enzyme-supportive functions, manganese is involved with the following:

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